Do you struggle with keeping your grocery budget low? Here’s how I stick to a $60 a week grocery budget, including tips and recipes!
Do you constantly find yourself looking for ways to cut back on your grocery budget? And looking for cheap meal ideas?
I’m right there with you, friend!
My family of 3 has eaten on many a tight budget over the years- sometimes $60, sometimes $30- and each time we had to get creative.
The best tips below are what I followed when we had a $60 per week grocery budget. I still follow these tips even on my now $100 budget, and I show these grocery hauls now on Youtube.
Hopefully these will help you find the cheapest meal ideas and help you stick to your low budget!
DISCLAIMER: I live in Ohio, which seems to have cheaper food prices. You may not be able to recreate my menus for the same price. We also don’t eat organic foods or purely “clean”, although we buy a ton of fresh produce every week.
How i stick to a $60 per week grocery budget
I make cheap, simple meals
I’ve pinned a bunch of stuff to Pinterest before because the final result looks so delicious! And then I click to see the recipe, and it involves a TON of ingredients that I never keep in the house and will waste if I don’t use all of it in that one recipe.
I love simple and efficient! Anything with 5 main ingredients or less is my perfect meal. Sorry soups, but a lot of you just have WAY too many ingredients! I love making broccoli cheese soup and tomato soup, but that’s about it.
I also don’t use very expensive meats, buying pretty much only chicken breasts and ground turkey because it’s the cheapest meat I can find.
I’ll also get the occasional pork loin when it goes on sale for less than $1.50/lb. I’ve found that I don’t miss ground beef at all now that I have ground turkey! I can’t even taste the difference.
Once or twice a week, I’ll do meatless meals, too. Rice and beans for dinner? Yep! Just add a tortilla shell and you can make an awesome, filling quesadilla.
I also like just buying a box of pasta and a jar of spaghetti sauce to have a simple, cheap dinner that gives us leftovers.
I shop at Aldi for 70% of my groceries
Aldi has been my lifesaver when it comes to buying healthy ingredients for really cheap! I buy all my baking supplies there, as well as canned goods, produce, and ground turkey.
At Aldi, I save at least 30-40% on everything, and the quality is right about the same. If you don’t have an Aldi in your area, look for another discount store like Save-A-Lot and see what you can buy cheaper than a regular grocery store. These stores definitely help keep your weekly budget low!
I only buy in-season produce
Allison and I LOVE strawberries, but holy cow, have you seen their prices when they’re not in season? I can get them on sale easily for $1.00 a pound, but in the off-season they can be upwards of $3-$4.00 a pound!
I just can’t see myself buying 3-4 packages at a time (which is what we usually do when they’re on sale) at that price. So when I can, I’ll buy a bunch at the lowest price, wash them, and chop/freeze for a later time.
I use a vinegar/water soak for my berries- find out more in this post about how to make strawberries last longer!
If I don’t plan on freezing produce, I’ll just plan dinner around what produce is on sale. Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are on sale in the winter? You can bet I’ll be using them at least once a week. What a great way to save money AND eat healthy foods!
If you only buy the produce that’s in season and work your meals around that, you’ll be saving so much money every week!
I make breakfast for dinner once a week
Seriously, pancakes and eggs make for a great dinner! You can keep a box of pancake mix around, or make your own to store it. It’s so cheap to make, and our family loves pancakes. We’ve also done biscuits and gravy and waffles.
Sometimes making pancakes can be time-consuming, so I use a good-sized griddle to save time and energy. Mine can make up to 6 pancakes at once; so for a standard pancake recipe like my Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes, it only takes 3 go-rounds to make them all!
I eat leftovers every day for lunch
Maybe it’s just because we’re a family of 3, but every dinner I cook makes at least 2-3 servings for leftovers the next day. And right now, since we’re practicing portion control, we have LOTS of leftovers.
I’ve tried to buy extra stuff for lunches for us, but that resulted in so much food we had to throw some away. It just didn’t work for us!
We have no problem eating leftovers, so we just happily eat them to save money. Allison, on the other hand, usually won’t eat most of my dinners (typical toddler), which means she won’t eat it the next day for lunch, either. So I buy good, healthy lunches for her, which doesn’t cost a whole lot.
If you eat leftovers a lot, make sure you get good containers. My favorites are these divided containers from Rubbermaid, because you can separate the main dish from the veggies and they stack quite nicely in the fridge!
This may not work for you, especially if you have a larger family, but if you’re in this position, consider having leftovers for lunch! It really keeps my grocery bill down.
I bulk cook and freeze items
Over the years I’ve begun to realize that it’s better/cheaper to make certain items myself to always keep in the house!
I make my own bread items
Okay, I only do this most of the time! Things like dinner rolls, breadsticks, and English muffins I always make, because I can’t see myself paying $2-$3 for a package! Tortillas I’ll sometimes make, but if the whole wheat ones go on sale at Meijer for $1.00 a pack, I’ll buy some to stock up. Those take a little longer to make than bread items.
I’ve been buying loaves of bread from my local bread outlet because they can be marked down to 50 cents per loaf. Homemade bread may taste better, but you can’t beat a 50-cent price tag.
With all that said, if I know that the next week is going to be tough budget-wise, I’ll go ahead and make all my bread products instead of buying them. I’ll spend a little extra time in the kitchen if it means saving a few dollars on our budget!
Granola bars are also something I’ll sometimes make when money is tight. We’re big snackers, and making our own snack foods keeps the budget low.
I only buy one big stock-up item each week
Our $60 a week grocery budget includes household items, so sometimes I have to get creative.
I usually buy toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, and dishwasher tabs at Sam’s Club, and those can easily be $15.00+ each. If I notice we’re low on something, I’ll add it to our grocery list and figure out some really cheap meals to make so we can afford to buy that item. This is where keeping my pantry and freezer full really helps!
To help supplement our income so we can buy more bigger items at Sam’s Club, I use Swagbucks to earn a $25.00 gift card about once a month!
Swagbucks is a site where you can earn points, called Swagbucks, by taking surveys, watching videos, and performing various activities. It’s free to sign up and easy to use, so make sure you click here to create your account today! Need help? Make sure you check out my tutorial on how I earn my Swagbucks!
I keep a supply of pantry staples
While shopping on a budget, I still try to make sure we have certain pantry items available for quick and easy meals. Food costs are going up, so I try to buy a certain type of item when it goes on sale that week. Usually I’ll set aside 5 dollars for foods like this.
Here’s what I try to keep in my pantry at all times:
- Rice (Brown rice, white rice, jasmine rice)
- Canned beans
- Canned vegetables, including tomatoes
- Rolled oats
- Peanut butter
- Pasta and pasta sauce
I take advantage of sales and discounted foods
The clearance sections are my best friends. Some stores like Kroger have bags of produce marked down to 99 cents, whether it’s raw veggies or bananas about to go bad. I grab those when I can!
I also recently started using an app called Flashfood. Certain stores participate and will mark down foods like meat, cheese, produce, bread items, etc., to 50% off. I’ve bought boxes of vegetables for only $3.00!
You buy what you want through the app, then go to your local store and pick up the food from the big fridge. The best part is, the app itself is totally free!
To see if you have any stores in your area, download the Flashfood app here. Use the code “NO G3D15J” and you’ll get $5.00 in rewards when you spend $10.00 on your first purchase!
I make a list and stick to it
Food budgeting was hard for me for awhile. I’m an impulse buyer for sure, and it took lots of willpower not to grab all the things.
Every Thursday I sit down and make my weekly grocery list. Usually it’s what we’ll need for the entire week. Once that shopping list is completed, I try really hard not to deviate. I buy what I need.
If you’re like me and buy a lot of random items, you can try grocery pickup. For some people, ordering their groceries online helps them stay on budget on their food items!
I round up my prices
Rounding up my prices while meal planning is one of the best ways to trick myself into staying under budget. Here’s an example:
If milk is $2.85, I round it up to $3.00.
If eggs are $1.55, I round it up to around $1.75.
If a can of vegetables is $.89, I round it up to $1.00.
This allows for a little wiggle room in case one of these items has gone up in price in the past week. Also, it’ll sometimes leave me with a few dollars left that I can buy additional food.
Depending on your family size and income, $60 or $75 may not be feasible. A family of 5 or 6 may spend much more than my family of 3!
The tips above still hold true no matter your budget; and if you follow them closely, you’ll find you may have some extra wiggle room in your spending! And you’ll still be able to make delicious meals!
Do you have any other tips that help you stay within your budget? Leave a comment below!
SaveWant more healthy meal ideas? Be sure to download my FREE Healthy Meal Plan!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.